The grids are set for Championship Sunday as the Sofina Foods Florida Winter Tour ROK Cup presented by FIKSE Wheels continued in Jupiter, Florida on Saturday under mixed skies that created great racing conditions.
Drivers continued through the heat races, completing the second and third rounds that set the grids for the afternoon PreFinal races. With a handful of points available this weekend, some of the championship standings have been quite shaken up following Saturday’s action with some drivers carrying big momentum into the final day of competition and others scratching their heads as to what has gone wrong.
Leading the way in the ROK Junior category and really coming into his own this weekend is Canadian Matthew Latifi. Undoubtedly the smallest driver on the grid, Latifi, secured the pole-position for Sunday’s Final following an action packed PreFinal that saw no less than four different race leaders.
Michael d’Orlando wound up second behind Latifi and earned a boost to his championship chances after points leader Mathias Ramirez was spun at the start, although he did recover to finish an impressive fifth. Gabriel Paturle, another driver with his sights on the championship, finished third and will be joined on row two by Jett Noland.
It has been a roller coaster in Mini ROK this weekend as the championship standings have been thrown in a blender. Following the action on Saturday, initial leader Derek Carmenate has fallen to fourth while Jak Crawford has gained the lead. Reece Gold has also moved up into second, only 36 points back of Crawford with Matheus Morgatto now third.
This all happened when Carmenate was involved in a corner one accident that included his teammates Tyler Maxson and James Egozi. Maxson was initially spun on entry and collected many drivers with him as drivers scrambled to avoid the backwards kart. The PreFinal was eventually won by Luca Mars, who started 13th on the grid after initially qualifying 32nd. Crawford, Morgatto and Gold finished behind Mars with Sebastian Montoya completing the top-five in the PreFinal.
With the top-four separated by only 107 points, anything is possible entering Sunday.
In ROK Senior, Kyle Kirkwood remained on top, albeit with a little more of a challenge on Saturday. TechSpeed teammates Olin Galli and Alain Sisdeli, along with Ryan Norberg have taken everything they can to Kirkwood on the starts, but the Florida driver has kept his composure this weekend and managed each situation well, recovering the lead and hitting his marks to build a gap. Sisdeli will start alongside Kirkwood on row one with Roman DeAngelis and Stirling Fairman on row two. Norberg starts on row three after receiving a penalty, while Galli is back in tenth after an incident.
Austin Garrison has built up his lead in ROK Shifter, staying out front and gaining the maximum amount of points available so far this weekend. Danny Formal has kept him honest, jumping to the lead at the start of the PreFinal until Garrison resumed the lead position a few laps later. Formal eventually fell to Oliver Askew in the late stages on the PreFinal as well and he will start the Final in third. Of the ROK Shifter Masters, Victor Jimenez is on top.
Freddie Slater held on to win the Micro ROK PreFinal, over Jeremy Fletcher, Connor Zilisch and Oliver Denny. However, Denny received a two-position penalty on the start, forcing the championship leader to start the Final from sixth on the grid as he looks for his third win of the season.
Finally, Anthony Honeywell was on cruise control in ROK Masters Sunday, winning the PreFinal by seven seconds over Daniel Rieger and Bruno Fusaro.